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Early Treatment Program for Opioid-Dependent Newborns Significantly Reduces Cost While Maintaining Medical and Safety Outcomes

Added on May 4, 2018 in Press Releases

View the multimedia news release

(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, May 3, 2018) – Prescription and non-prescription opioid use and dependence are increasing in women of childbearing age and during pregnancy.1  Fetal opioid exposure can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), when a dependent newborn is no longer exposed to substances used by the mother during pregnancy. NAS can cause serious problems for newborns, including low birth weight, respiratory and feeding complications, and seizures.

A new study, “Early Treatment Innovation for Opioid-Dependent Newborns: A Retrospective Comparison of Outcomes, Utilization, Quality and Safety,” by Julie Summey, PhD, Clemson University, and co-authors from Clemson and Greenville Health System, South Carolina, is to be published in the June 2018 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety

The study describes the Managing Abstinence in Newborns (MAiN) program—launched by Jennifer A. Hudson, MD, medical director, Newborn Services, Greenville Health System, to provide multidisciplinary, coordinated, community-based care for NAS—and compares the outcomes of MAiN infants to infants who received traditional NAS care in South Carolina from 2006 through 2014. 

Findings showed no significant differences between the two groups regarding medical and safety outcomes, or child protective services involvement. However, the traditional care NAS infants were more likely to be treated in a higher-level nursery or to have emergency department visits, and the median per-birth charges were approximately $8,204 lower for MAiN infants.  

In an accompanying editorial, “Management of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: The Importance of a Multifaceted Program Spanning Inpatient and Outpatient Care,” Maya Balakrishnan, MD, and Gautham Suresh, MD, DM, MS, conclude: “There is enormous potential for programs such as this to provide a safe, cost-effective and sustainable alternative to prolonged inpatient NAS management.”

The study and editorial are available online free to the public. For more information, visit The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety website

 1Salihu HM, Mogos MF, Salinas-Miranda AA, Salemi JL, Whiteman VE. National trends in maternal use of opioid drugs among pregnancy-related hospitalizations in the United States, 1998 to 2009. Am J Perinatol. 2015; 32(3):289-98. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1384642


Note for editors
The article is “Early Treatment Innovation for Opioid-Dependent Newborns: A Retrospective Comparison of Outcomes, Utilization, Quality and Safety” by Julie Summey, EdD; Liwei Chen, MD, PhD; Rachel Mayo, PhD; Elizabeth Charron, MPH; Jennifer A. Hudson, MD; Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, PhD, MHS; and Lori Dickes, PhD. The article appears in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, volume 44, number 6 (June 2018), published by Elsevier.

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (JQPS) is a peer-reviewed journal providing health care professionals with innovative thinking, strategies and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. JQPS is the official journal of The Joint Commission and Joint Commission Resources, Inc. Original case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or the new application of methodologies, research studies, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.


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